by Dr. Steven Jonas
July 24, 2007
In my column on this subject last week, I noted that from the beginning of his Presidency (or Cheney’s, however you want to look at it) Bush set out to achieve what I have on more than one occasion termed a “coup d’etat in slow motion.” Upon gaining the office this man first embraced the powers truly vested in him by the Constitution. Then, starting with The “Patriot” Act, he proceeded to gradually and steadily expand them way beyond their Constitutional limitations (see Articles I, II, III, and VI). It should be noted that when that Act was introduced, Bush did not have full control of the Congress. The Democrats still held the Senate. But at the time they were “lead” by the totally spineless Tom Daschle. They thus meekly acquiesced to the passage of what on more than one occasion I have noted is this essential element of the US equivalent of the Nazi German Enabling Act of March, 1933 that made Hitler a dictator. To my recollection, only Sen. Gene Feingold of Wisconsin had the cojones to vote against it. Then came the disaster of the Kerry/Shrum Presidential campaign, the “Military Commissions Act,” and etc.
And so, what do the Democrats do now in terms of the Presidency? This is a question that I have dealt with numerous times since I first began writing this column almost 3 ½ years ago. Nobody in any position of consequence has ever paid the slightest bit of attention to what I have had to say, but that has even to this day not convinced that I have been wrong. Time and BushCheney (or CheneyBush if you will) march on. I become more convinced than ever that when the next Presidential campaign gets underway, the Democrats must make major changes their approach (and the change should take place even now in the pre-primary season as well). If they do not, they will lose again. If they do, and especially if “I’d-like-nothing-better-than-to-be-dictator” Giuliani wins it for the Republicans, we might not see another Presidential election for a long time, even if in the first instance the Democrats were to retain control of one or both Houses of Congress. So let’s have another go at the subject.
First and foremost, the Democrats have to seriously examine the work of the two brilliant political strategists whose combined efforts have given the Republicans the Executive Branch dominance that they have enjoyed for the last six-plus years. First, is Lee “Willie Horton” Atwater. Over and over again, I have talked (and will talk again, many times leading up to Nov. 4, 2008) about his primary mantra: “Always Attack, Never Defend.” Democrats just don’t know how to do this. The current perfect example is their response to the Republican attack on them on the Libby commutation thing. Like Captain Renault, the Claude Rains character in the Humphrey Bogart/Ingrid Berman movie “Casablanca,” they were “shocked, shocked,” that Bush could do such a thing. After all, hadn’t he said he would fire anyone in his Administration found guilty of wrongdoing? And now he has commuted the sentence of the convicted felon, even before his appeal is heard?
Well, first of all they shouldn’t have been shocked. Bush has been doing such things and much worse all along. Second, they opened themselves right up for the typical Republican counter-attack. And yes, it was counter-attack. There was no defending Scooter Libby here. Right into the Big Lie Attack mode. First of all, they said, there was no crime. Everyone (sic) knew that Valerie Plame was CIA (no, not true, but what the hey). Second, “everyone” knew that she sent her husband Joseph Wilson on the Niger expedition (no, not true, but what the hey). Third, “everyone” knew that the report he came back with showing that the “Yellowcake-to-Saddam” thing was a fiction was itself a lie (no, not true, but what the hey). Fourth, “everyone” knew that Scooter’s incorrect recollection of the events (like that Tim Russert told him that Plame was an undercover CIA agent, not the other way round, as Russert testified to in open court, under oath) stated before the Grand Jury was simply the product of a faulty memory, not lying. Well, the jury didn’t believe him, but what the hey.
Then, just a couple of days later, given the opening by none other than Hillary Clinton, they are right into their classic “Two Wrongs Make a Right” Attack mode: “Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah. Bill Clinton pardoned this one and that one and this one and that one.” Clinton actually granted 140 pardons at the end of his Presidency, although none were to felons convicted of obstructing justice in an investigation of a violation of national security law. But Clinton was really into the pardoning thing, for all of the reasons Bush gave for giving the commutation to Libby: upstanding citizen, national service, family considerations, illness, and etc.
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